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Discharge Instructions for Cancer of the Cervix

You have been diagnosed with cancer of the cervix (also called cervical cancer). This is the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the cervix. This sheet will help you remember how to care for yourself after surgery for cervical cancer.

Activity

Here are things to consider:

  • Don’t drive for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Don’t drive if you are still taking narcotic pain medication.

  • Ask others to help with chores and errands while you recover.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for 6 weeks to avoid straining your incisions.

  • Don’t vacuum or do other strenuous housework until the doctor says it’s OK.

  • Limit stair climbing for the first 2 weeks after surgery. Climb stairs slowly and pause after every few steps.

  • Walk as often as you feel able.

  • Ask your doctor when you can expect to return to work.

Other Home Care

Other concerns include:

  • Take only those medications that are prescribed by your doctor. If you are also taking other medications, let your doctor know.

  • Take pain medication exactly as directed.

  • Continue the coughing and deep-breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.

  • Avoid constipation:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, unless otherwise directed.

    • Use a laxative or a gentle stool softener if your doctor says it’s OK.

  • Wash your incision with mild soap and water. Pat it dry. Don’t use oils, powders, or lotions on your incision.

  • Shower as usual.

  • Don’t put anything in your vagina (don’t use tampons or douches and don’t have sexual intercourse) until your doctor says it’s OK.

  • Report hot flashes, mood swings, or irritability to your doctor. There may be medications that can help you.

 

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever above 100.5°F (38°C) or chills

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding or a smelly discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than 1 pad per hour

  • Trouble urinating or burning when you urinate

  • Severe pain or bloating in your belly

  • Redness, swelling, or drainage at your incision site

  • Persistent nausea or vomiting 

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath 

 

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